Dynamic Marketing Communiqué

The sky’s the limit: How this guerrilla marketing stunt generated tons of buzz for a superhero film! [Thursdays: Gorillas of Guerilla Marketing]

July 27, 2023

Miles Everson’s Business Builder Daily speaks to the heart of what great marketers, business leaders, and other professionals need to succeed in advertising, communications, managing their investments, career strategy, and more.

A Note from Miles Everson:

Have you ever witnessed a clever marketing tactic that was so simple but incredibly impactful?

That’s guerrilla marketing!

According to Jay Conrad Levinson, campaigns of this type leave a lasting impression that allows people to actively remember a brand.

Today, we’re excited to share an example of a brilliant guerilla marketing campaign for a film.

Keep reading to know how a creative stunt helped this movie attain box office success.

Miles Everson
CEO, MBO Partners
Chairman of the Advisory Board, The I Institute

Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing

Picture this:

You’re strolling down the busy streets of New York City, surrounded by a sea of cars and pedestrians. Your eyes wander up to the towering buildings, and suddenly, you see something that stops you in your tracks.

3 people are soaring through the air, defying gravity right before your very eyes!

Would you believe it?

Photo from YouTube

As it turns out, the odd sightings of flying people was a lead up to the 2012 release of 20th Century Fox‘s superhero film, “Chronicle.” Passersby were treated to an out-of-this-world sight: Human-like figures soaring high above in the sky.

Photo from IMDb

The film follows 3 teenagers who stumbled across a mysterious substance that gave them the ability to fly and other superhuman powers. However, as they became more powerful, their darker sides threatened to take over, leading to personal struggles.

To promote the film, 20th Century Fox partnered with advertising agency Thinkmodo to come up with a guerilla marketing campaign that would make people feel like they stepped right into “Chronicle’s” fantastic world of superheroes and magic.

According to Thinkmodo co-founder Michael Krivicka, the advertising team came up with the idea of sending “flying people” to the skies of New York and New Jersey as a reference to the abilities of the movie’s protagonists.

To execute the idea, the marketing team created 3 custom-made radio-controlled (RC) planes that resembled humans.

Up close, the planes look like strange, human-sized kites. When sent to the sky, the RC planes gave the illusion of flying people from a distance.

Photo from YouTube

The guerilla marketing stunt instantly caught the attention of bystanders as the RC planes soared above famous landmarks like the Brooklyn Bridge. Several people snapped photos of the odd occurrence as their curiosity got piqued.

video of the campaign was also posted on YouTube in January 2012. The clip showcased the human-shaped RC planes up close while the flight crew launched the contraptions to the sky.

Jon Donovan from TechCrunch said the campaign was a “ballsy, creative, and unique advertising tactic.” Similarly, people on various social media platforms praised the fun and attention-grabbing marketing campaign.

Although the reception to the campaign was generally positive, one question still remains: Was the guerrilla marketing stunt successful in generating buzz for the film?


The YouTube video of the marketing campaign went viral and amassed over 9 million views!

What’s more?

The film received even more exposure as the guerilla marketing stunt was featured in various television programs and publications such as:

  • Today Show
  • Early Today
  • KTLA Morning News
  • Bloomberg News
  • LA Times
  • ABC
  • NBC

The viral guerilla marketing campaign also helped contribute to the film’s box office success as the movie grossed over USD 126 million worldwide against a production budget of USD 15 million.

That’s nearly 9 times the cost it took to make the film! Now that’s an impressive return on investment.

The flying-people campaign for “Chronicle” is proof of the effectiveness of creative and unconventional marketing tactics. It reminds us that thinking outside the box can result in great outcomes.

By bringing the fictional world of the movie to life with flying human-shaped RC planes, Thinkmodo and 20th Century Fox successfully left a lasting impact on those who witnessed or watched the guerrilla marketing stunt.

The bottom line?

Whether you’re promoting a product, service, or idea, it’s important to find unique and memorable ways to capture people’s attention and leave a lasting impression.

So, the next time you’re brainstorming a marketing campaign, think about how you can surprise and delight your audience and make them feel like they’re part of a larger story or experience.

(This article is from The Business Builder Daily, a newsletter by The I Institute in collaboration with MBO Partners.)

About The Dynamic Marketing Communiqué’s
“Thursdays: Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing”

Jay Conrad Levinson (1984) said that Guerrilla Marketing “works because it’s simple to appreciate, easy to execute, and inexpensive.”

Guerrilla Marketing is unconventional.

Looking beyond the traditional ways of advertising, marketers, and advertisers need to spice things up in order for their brand to have campaigns that not only make an impact but also stick to their target market’s mind.

Guerrilla Marketing usually aims to have direct contact with consumers.

This type of direct contact should spark an emotional reaction that leads to consumers effectively remembering the brand.

It’s about making a big impression and making that impression last a long time (if not forever).

Guerrilla Marketing can be inexpensive.

The effect of this is being able to create a buzz around the brand, and the strategy used to market it. Almost everything is passed around through word-of-mouth.

Word-of-mouth is one of the greatest outcomes and it usually doesn’t cost anything.

This is every business’ or brand’s dream!

Every Thursday, we publish tips, examples, and other useful content on unconventional ways of marketing and promotion.

Learn more about how to grab your target market’s attention and make an amazing first and lasting impression without having to spend a lot of money.

Businesses don’t really need to spend much for a guerrilla campaign. You do not need a big budget to be successful. You just need creativity and a good imagination.

Hope you’ve found this week’s guerrilla marketing insight interesting and helpful.

Stay tuned for next Thursday’s Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing!


Kyle Yu
Head of Marketing
Valens Dynamic Marketing Capabilities
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